Yasuo Fukuda has resigned as Japan’s prime minister, the AP reports. Fukuda said he was stepping down to ensure that a special session of parliament to address the economy runs smoothly. Fukuda, whose approval rating is at 29% after less than a year in office, has presided over a split parliament, which has caused bitter legislative gridlock for most of his term.
"The Democratic Party has tried to stall every bill so it has taken a long time to implement any policies,” Fukuda, 72, charged today. The Japanese economy contracted in the second quarter, hit by low consumer spending and high food and fuel prices. Fukuda said he hopes his absence will speed the implementation of a planned economic stimulus package.